Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Historian Goes to COP23. December 21, 2017.
I joined the most recent UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn with a delegation from Monash University, which also included legal scholars, renewable energy specialists, and science communicators. The opportunity to observe and participate in the activities that accompany the negotiations was too good to pass up. More
Volcanoes, Climate Change, and Society: History and Future Prospects. November 30, 2017.
In June 1783, the residents of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, an Icelandic village, watched as the water of their local river Skaftá vanished and, days later, was replaced by a “fiery flood” of lava. They could not have imagined that this event would have consequences halfway around the globe, all the way to eastern Africa. More
New Worlds of Climate Change: The Little Ice Age and the Colonization of America. October 13, 2017.
In August 1559, the aspiring conquistador Tristán de Luna y Arellano brought some five hundred soldiers and a thousand colonists from New Spain to a settlement on Pensacola Bay, Florida, which he declared “the best port in the Indies.” The viceroy of New Spain reported to the king “the port is so secure that no wind can do them any damage at all.” Even as he wrote, a hurricane was entering the Caribbean, poised to devastate Puerto Rico. A week later, it roared into Pensacola Bay. Tristán de Luna had no experience of tropical storms that could overwhelm even the strongest harbors. More
Weather, Climate Change, and Inuit Communities in the Western Canadian Arctic. October 5, 2017.
Global climate change brings with it local weather that communities and cultures have difficulty anticipating. Unpredictable and socially impactful weather is having negative effects on the subsistence, cultural activities, and safety of indigenous peoples in Arctic communities. More
“Lighthouses in the Empire”: History of Ice and Place in the “Mountains of the Moon," Uganda. September 9, 2017.
Mount Emin. Mount Baker. Mount Stanley. It is rare for a location to excite so many disparate sensibilities, but the post-colonial scholar, glaciologist, botanist, and climate scientist find themselves welcome bedfellows in the Rwenzori Mountains of central Africa. More
Will Climate Change Cause Conflict in the Arctic? Searching for Answers in the Past. July 25, 2017.
In article after article, academics, policy analysts, and journalists have told a similar story: climate change, by melting Arctic ice, is unlocking resources that could soon trigger war in the far north. They argue that the race to extract the reservoirs of oil and natural gas that lie under the vanishing ice will provoke hostilities between nations eager to claim the bonanza. More
Weather Markets: Accounting for Climate in Early American Agri-business. June 22, 2017.
When Monsanto spent $1 billion in 2013 to purchase Climate Corporation, its climate data, and its algorithms for using machine learning to predict weather, everyone from farmers to The New Yorker concluded that agri-business believed the climate science consensus: climate change is real and it introduces real risks to business. More
“Bread or Blood”: Climate Insecurity in East Anglia in 1816. May 17, 2017.
The recent bicentenary of the Year without a Summer (1816) has brought that unusual intersection of geological forces, changing climate, and human history into focus again. The radical cooling brought on by Tambora’s eruption seems especially significant as modern societies face their own dramatic climate change. More
A Conversation with Dr. Bathsheba Demuth: Capitalism, Communism, and Indigenous Communities in a Changing Arctic. April 6, 2017.
In the seventh episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews a fast-rising star in the field of environmental history: Dr. Bathsheba Demuth, assistant director of HistoricalClimatology.com and the Climate History Network. Dr. Demuth is an assistant professor at Brown University, where she specializes in the history of Arctic lands and seas. More
Iceberg Utilization: A Panacea for a Thirsty World? March 27, 2017.
Ice, or a lack of it, is an “icon” of anthropogenic climate change. Earlier this year, researchers reported that a rift in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has accelerated and could soon cause a vast iceberg to fall into the sea. After the collapse of the ice shelf, the glaciers that once sustained it will run into the sea. More
A Conversation with Dr. James Fleming: Geoengineering and Atmospheric Science. March 9, 2017.
In the sixth episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews one of the world's best-known historians of science: Dr. James Fleming, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. Professor Fleming is perhaps the leading historian of meteorology and climatology. He has degrees in astronomy, atmospheric science, and history, and he is the founder and first president of the International Commission on History of Meteorology. More
"A Grande Seca": El Niño and Brazil’s First Rubber Boom. February 7, 2017.
People care about climate change when it affects them. That is why Pacific islanders fear rising sea levels more than the average American, and why many who live in coastal cities fear a projected increase in tropical cyclones more than those further inland. Yet the idea that an environmental change “over there” will not affect communities “here” makes little sense. More
The Stilling: Global Wind Speeds Slowing Down Since 1960. Horizon
Thinking About the Halifax Explosion in a Time of Climate Change. Acadiensis
How To Survive Climate Change? Clues Are Buried In The Arctic. NPR
Rescued Radar Maps Reveal Antarctica's Past. Nature
Why Did Greenland's Vikings Vanish? Smithsonian Magazine
Human Influence on Climate Led to Several Major Weather Extremes in 2016. Climate.gov
Fall 2017. Famines, volcanoes and ancient violence, and the frigid conquest of North America.
Spring/Summer 2017. Disaster memories, climate and conflict, and controlling nature.
Winter 2017. Trump's election, medieval climate history, new awards and conferences.
Fall 2016. PAGES, the IPCC, and Frankenstein's monster.
Summer 2016. Volcanoes, droughts, and the Maunder Minimum.
Spring 2016. The Spanish Empire and global cooling, annual meeting at the ASEH conference.
Winter 2016. New financial support and the Old World Drought Atlas.
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